DID YOU READ

“Hugo,” reviewed

“Hugo,” reviewed (photo)

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Martin Scorsese‘s “Hugo” is a movie about magic, but it’s also a movie as magic trick: Scorsese convinces us he’s made one film then uses some crafty sleight-of-hand to transform “Hugo” before our eyes. Though I’ve read interviews and articles about the film that reveal its secrets, and even listened to the director himself spoil them in an interview on “The Daily Show,” I went into the movie cold, and my appreciation of it was undeniably enhanced by the absolute surprise of its ultimate revelations. So I’m going to be very careful what I say here. To do otherwise would be like explaining how the magician saws the woman in half before you’ve even see him do it.

Outwardly, “Hugo” looks like a simple children’s film. The title character (Asa Butterfield) is an orphan who lives in a Parisian train station in the 1920s. After his father dies (Jude Law, in a brief role), his uncle (Ray Winstone, even more briefly) adopts him and puts him to work minding, winding, and repairing the station’s enormous clocktower. While Hugo keeps the clocks running, he also searches for — and occasionally steals — tools and parts for the one thing his dad left him: a broken automaton that could deliver an important message from beyond the grave from father to son. But stealing the parts he needs puts Hugo directly in the crosshairs of the station’s cruel inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen) and the bitter owner of its trinket and toy store (Ben Kinglsey).

Hugo’s thefts lead directly to several impressively staged chase scenes over, under, and through the Paris train station, and that’s where Scorsese’s use of 3D really shines. If Scorsese doesn’t single-handedly save 3D as a artistic medium, he certainly proves that reports of its death were greatly exaggerated. Even more than James Cameron’s “Avatar,” this may be the first truly beautiful 3D movie; and one of the few whose cinematography feels enhanced by 3D instead of diminished by it. Director of photography Robert Richardson uses steam, dust, and falling snow to develop and deepen the sense of onscreen space, and the golden colors are rich enough to shine through those pesky 3D glasses.

“Hugo” looked like a weird choice for Scorsese, the sort of project a director of adult fare takes on after having a few kids just so their children can watch something they make. It’s based on a popular children’s book, “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick, and its hero’s life would seem to be so far removed from its director’s childhood on the mean streets of New York City. But the twists in the second and third act reveal the “Hugo” as intensely personal statement from Scorsese, one not just about magic, but the magic of cinema.

“Hugo” is now playing. If you see it, tell us what you think; leave us a comment below or write to us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.

via GIPHY

It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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